Tuesday, 14 May 2019 23:06

Two late-game rallies fall short as Lady Raiders' season ends in third round

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
The Lady Raider softball team saw its 2019 season come to an end in Tuesday's third-round playoff game. The Lady Raider softball team saw its 2019 season come to an end in Tuesday's third-round playoff game. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — An uncharacteristic night at the plate and in the field led to an early playoff exit for the Richmond Senior High School softball team.

The No. 1 overall Lady Raiders saw their hopeful run to the program’s first North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A state title cut short by No. 9 Providence High School. Despite two late-game rallies, Richmond would fall to the Lady Panthers 6-5.

With the third-round loss, it marked the earliest exit by the Lady Raiders in the state playoffs since 2013, when No. 1 Richmond lost to No. 3 West Johnston High School in the second round.

The past two seasons, the Lady Raiders advanced to the Western Regional Finals, but dropped the three-game series both times.

A slow start at the plate, coupled with a pair of errors and some missed opportunities in the middle innings led to Richmond’s 2019 season coming to an end.

Providence’s starting pitcher Carolyn Bentley threw a complete game, but saw her cage rattled in the sixth and seventh innings. Trailing 4-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, a two-RBI double to the right-field corner by senior Taylor Parrish cut Richmond’s deficit in half.

After a double play left just junior Kayla Hawkins on first base (hit-by-pitch), sophomore Paige Ransom lined a two-run homer to dead center to tie the game.

Providence scored solo runs in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings. A two-run home run by Lili Bowen on a 0-2 offering from Richmond’s senior ace Greyson Way in the top of the seventh would prove to score the game-winning run.

The Lady Raiders wouldn’t let their season end without a fight, battling back with a rally in the home half of the seventh. With two outs, Way lined an RBI double to the left-field corner to score fellow senior Savannah Lampley, who hustled to beat out an infield single in what would be her final high school at-bat.

Richmond had scoring opportunities earlier in the game, getting runners on second and third base in the third and fifth innings with no outs. Both times the Lady Raiders failed to score, seeing an out made at home on a fielder’s choice in the third.

When Providence (18-5) scored its single runs in the third and sixth innings, an infield error extended the inning both times. Bentley helped her cause with a solo shot in the fourth, and doubled home Reese Wells in the sixth.

Way, who made the final start of her high school career in the circle, pitched a complete game and struck out nine Lady Panther batters. It also marked the final game of Lampley and Parrish’s respective high school careers.

All three seniors recorded at least one hit on the night, with Way collecting two and an RBI. Ransom went a perfect 3-for-3 and added two RBIs, while Parrish also knocked in a pair of runs.

Three other Lady Raiders managed to get a hit off Bentley, seeing junior Madison Jordan and freshmen Kenleigh Frye and Allyiah Swiney reach safely on singles.

Although the season came to an abrupt end for head coach Wendy Wallace’s Lady Raiders, all three of her seniors have college careers just a few months away. Lampley will join the ranks at UNC-Wilmington, while Way will head to UNC-Greensboro. Parrish is set to play her college ball at Pfeiffer University.

Richmond tallied a 25-3 overall record in 2019, going 13-1 in Sandhills Athletic Conference play. The Lady Raiders added a Beach Diamond Invitational championship to its resume, while also winning its second-straight SAC tournament title.

ROSports will publish a comprehensive season recap within the next week.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_

Instagram: ROSports